Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia

The Wonders of Thai Cuisine

Every single foreigner that sets foot in Thailand has a gastronomic experience that is truly unique, and with Thai cuisine having a well-deserved global reputation, our volunteers and interns get to sample authentic local cuisine. Thailand is regarded by many as the garden of the world, (they are the world’s biggest supplier of Jasmine rice) and the very long list of delicious fruits and vegetables that grow here allows the locals to prepare some truly amazing dishes. You would never believe what can be produced from rice, which, aside from being the staple meal component, can also be transformed into delicious desserts, and they even make their own style of rice whisky (Lao Kao), which you simply must try.

Thai Herbs

The key component to Thai style cuisine is the variety of herbs and spices that can be found in this tropical paradise, and combine them with a coconut cream curry and you have a taste to die for! There are as many species of chili as there are hours in the day, and whether you are a novice spicer or a hardened veteran, there’s something to delight you.

Firm Favorites

Masaman curry, a dish from the south of Thailand, incorporates potato and peanuts with the preferred meat, giving a smooth and very distinguishable taste, and this dish is best served with either piping hot jasmine rice or toasted French bread. “Pad Thai” is absolute heaven, and this unique mixture of fried noodles infused with many vegetables and spices is enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon and a generous sprinkling of pepper, and with so many local variations, Pad Thai never fails to impress. Spicy Som Tam (papaya salad) is something you simply must experience, and if you ever wonder why all the Thais look so healthy, look no further than their diet, which is rich in protein, minerals and vitamins. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll feel right at home in Thailand, as “Ahan Jay” (vegetarian food) is available everywhere. In fact, by only knowing that one Thai phrase, you can experience a wide range of fruit and vegetable fusions, with each region of Thailand having their own unique examples, you will never be disappointed.

Authentic Thai Food

As you are a volunteer in our organisation, you get to experience the very best of the local cuisine, with many varieties, including chicken and sticky rice, larb (a very spicy salad), and the local red curries. Chiang Mai street food is up there with very best in terms of rave reviews, and whether you want to use our staff’s local knowledge or would rather experiment alone, you are never far away from food in Thailand. Eating is an integral part of daily life, so much so, that you might say they have work breaks in between the food sessions! If you’re used to rushing your food to keep abreast with your heavy western schedule, you’ll be pleased to learn that the Thais take their time when eating, and there are many opportunities to sample something new during a typical day.

Great Food is Everywhere

Wherever you happen to be staying, you are always a stone’s throw from street vendors, and if you want to develop your Thai language skills, these are great places to start. Thai people are curious by nature and you will have many questions thrown at you, once the vendors know you speak a little of the language. The Thais are in a class of their own when it comes to eating, and as you would expect, there are many unique dished and specialties, and if you have an open mind, why not try the grilled grasshoppers? Full of protein and actually tastes good!

Staying Hydrated

When arriving in Thailand, one of the easiest mistakes a foreigner can make is to fail to drink enough water. You might, for example, get away with 2 or 3 glasses at home, but in this heat and humidity, 8 glasses a day is recommended. Fortunately, all of our volunteers have instant access to drinking water, and by staying hydrated, you will be able to really enjoy the volunteer experience. It is recommended to take a bottle of water into the classroom with you, and all of the Thai school corridors have chilled water dispensers. If you’re engaged in any manual labour, then the need for water is increased, and your project coordinator would always be looking at your water intake, ensuring you stay hydrated.

A Unique Eating Experience

Living with Thais ensures you are exposed to a wide range of delicious local dishes, and if you are the adventurous type, be prepared for some amazing gastronomic experiences that only Thailand can offer. The very long list of local fruits include durian, jackfruit, mangosteen, mango and lychee, to name but a few, and no matter what time of year you are in this tropical paradise, there will be fruits in season.

Thai cuisine is in a class of its own and the dishes you sample in Thailand cannot be compared to anything else, and whatever happens during your trip to Thailand, you will certainly fall in love with the food!